Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Simplest, Quickest and Tastiest Lemon Meringue Pie





This is another recipe by the magnificent Mary Berry. Lemon meringue pie is classically made with a pastry base, lemon curd and a meringue topping, making it very time consuming and quite technical. Mary has taken the danger out of this pie with a beautiful biscuit-y base and
lemony filling. It was super quick, and is now one of my firm favourites.


Serves 6


Ingredients:
For the base:

  • 75g butter, melted
  • 25g light brown soft sugar
  • 175g digestive biscuits

For the filling:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 x 394g tin of full-fat sweetened condensed milk (DO NOT use LIGHT condensed milk as the filling won't set!)
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons

For the topping:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 175g caster sugar



Method:


1. First make the base. Crush the digestive biscuits. This can be done in a plastic bag, but I find placing them in a bowl and pressing down with the end of a rolling pin works better (and is less messy). Add the brown sugar and melted butter, and stir to fully combine.

2. Pour into the base of a 23cm round, fluted pie tin (with a removable base). Use the back of a spoon or your knuckles to press the biscuit evenly around the base, and up the sides of the pie tin. Place in the fridge whilst you make the filling.

3. Preheat your oven to 190c/170c fan/gas mark 5.

4. To make the filling pour the condensed milk into a bowl, and add the egg yolks, lemon juice and zest. Beat briefly with a whisk, then pour into the prepared tin.


5. For the meringue topping, place the egg-whites in a grease-free spotlessly clean bowl and whisk (preferably with an electric whisk) until the egg whites start looking like clouds (quite like shaving foam). Start adding the sugar, a teaspoon at at time, whisking well between each addition.

6. Keep whisking until the meringue forms stiff peaks. This means that when the whisk is removed from the mixture a peak of meringue forms (and the tip does not fall to one side).
Place spoonfuls of the meringue on top of the lemon filling, and spread over the pie, making sure to cover all of the filling.


7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, turning the tin occasionally (to get an even browning of meringue).



8. Set aside for about 30 minutes, before serving warm (though it is also perfectly delicous cold).

9. Enjoy


Note: This pie keeps in the fridge for at least half a week (our pie was fully devoured after 2 days!)




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Sunday, 28 June 2015

Global Baking Blogs/Recipes

Baking is a hobby/necessity all around the globe, and I find the similarities and differences between dishes in different countries fascinating. 
I've been speaking to baking bloggers and reading many international blogs, and have found fantastic national/regional recipes! 
Here are links to a few of my favourites.


USA



This blog not only contains hundreds of sweet recipes, but the writer (Jessie) also posts cool sweet-themed art projects :) Her blog is really cool, so you should check it out.
This recipe is for the classic american buttercream frosting: http://www.cakespy.com/blog/2013/3/24/cakespys-favorite-buttercream-frosting.html - very simple but delicious!






Here's a recipe for the american classic: Pecan Pie. http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/best-pecan-pie-recipe/





Poland

My boyfriend is polish, so recently I've been reading a lot about polish baking. The recipes tend to be simple but full of flavour. They're also not, in general, well known about, so one of my missions is to make the dishes as popular as they deserve to be!


This blog is great for polish recipes, and at the moment has one sweet recipe for blueberry pierogi. Pierogi are a style of dumpling, normally filled with savoury fillings such as cheese and onion. This is a sweet variant that I really want to try to make.
http://mypolishkitchen.co.uk/recipes/polish-sweet/recipe-blueberry-pierogi/










This blog is written by a pastry chef called Natasha. Her family is polish meaning that she has written some family-classics on her blog. This one stood out for me - Karpatka (vanilla slice).
http://www.butterbaking.com/2012/06/19/polish-vanilla-slice-karpatka/

Croatia

I recently spent some time in Croatia, and as well as doing boring science-stuff, ate lots and lots of their baked goods.







This blog has many recipes to the baked goods I tasted there. One that was in every shop window were their doughnuts.





France

France is famous for it's patisserie, and it's where I almost went to actually train to become a pastry chef! They are the masters of beautiful chocolates and desserts.



Fanny is from France (now living in Sweden) and a professional pastry chef. If I can ever bake things as beautifully as she does, I'll be very happy.
Here is a recipe for the ultimate chocolate dessert - chocolate fondant.


http://www.likeastrawberrymilk.com/2011/09/mind-your-french-le-fondant-au-chocolat/


Australia




This writer of this blog (Karen) writes the kind of recipes I love! Nothing that is apparently 'sugar-free', but purely delicous recipes that can be eaten in moderation (if you want to eat healthy) or be devoured if you want a treat. She has a huge variety of baking recipes on her blog, all of which are very well written and easy to follow.

Here she writes a recipe for the classic australian biscuit - known as Anzac biscuits

Japan


Nami has written loads of recipes, both sweet and savoury, of which there are over 450!! I wasn't really aware of any japanese desserts until I read this blog. This recipe is for dorayaki - a sort of red-bean filled pancake sandwich. 


UK

Being from the UK myself, I love our desserts and adore baking our classics. There are loads of other UK bloggers who give me inspiration.


Martha appeared on the last series of the best show on TV. The Great British Bake Off. She's only 17 but I've already successfully tried out several of her recipes. Here is one of her family favourites - cornish fairing biscuits.






Kate is a welsh baking blogger, who writes lots of interesting recipes. Here is a recipe for her classic carrot and walnut cake.
http://www.whatkatebaked.com/2015/05/a-classic-carrot-and-walnut-cake.html





Hope you find these recipes and blogs as great I think they are. If you have a classic recipe from your home country and want to share it, comment or send me an email - honeycombcrunchies@gmail.com :)


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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Super Strawberry Cheesecake



So far I’ve baked and enjoyed a fair few cheesecakes, but had been uninspired by any strawberry cheesecake recipe I’d read. They all were vanilla cheesecakes with a  strawberry topping, whereas I wanted a STRAWBERRY cheesecake. 
Finally I found a great recipe from bbcgoodfood (http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2442/pink-strawberry-cheesecake) and gave it a go, with my own twist of course. This is a strange recipe for me as no baking is required, but it does look great and tastes like summer in a cheesecake.

Also, although this is a great cheesecake, it may use up every bowl you have in the kitchen – so my advice would be to get someone who loves cheesecake to volunteer to do the washing up :)

Makes one 20cm square cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the base:
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar

For the filling:
  • 3 sheets leaf gelatine
  • 142ml carton single cream
  • 300g full fat cream cheese
  • 100g caster sugar
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 300g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • 142ml whipping/double cream
  • 1 medium egg white

For the sauce:
  • 125g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar


Method:
1. Grease and line the base and sides of a 20x20cm square cake tin with greaseproof paper. This makes the job of removing the cheesecake from the tin at the end a lot easier.

2. Prepare the base. Put the digestive biscuits in a food processor, and whizz to fine crumbs. Alternatively, place the biscuits in two carrier bags (bags often have minute holes in, so double bagging helps prevent mess), and hit with a rolling pin. 

3. Pour into a small mixing bowl and pour in the butter and demerara sugar. Stir to fully combine then pour into the cake tin. Use the back of a spoon to press the crumb mixture evenly over the base of the tin. Place in the fridge to cool.

4. In a bowl of cold water, submerge the gelatine leaves and leave to soften for five minutes.

5. In a saucepan heat the single cream until just boiling (you will see tiny bubbles at the surface of the cream). Take off the heat. Squeeze the gelatine in your fingers to remove excess water, and add to the cream. Whisk to dissolve the gelatine.

6. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese with the caster sugar, lemon juice and zest. When lump free, add the chopped strawberries and cream/gelatine mixture.

7. In yet another bowl, whisk the double or whipping cream until it forms soft peaks. This is easiest to do with an electric whisk. Soft peaks means that when the whisk is lifted from the cream, a peak will form but the tip will flop over to one side. Fold into the cheesecake mixture.

8. In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg white until it forms stiff peaks. This means that when the whisk is lifted, a peak again forms but the tip remains rigid. Gently fold into the cheesecake mixture.



9. Pour the cheesecake mixture into the cake tin, and place in the fridge to set. This will take at least 2 – 3 hours.



10. For the sauce, blitz the remaining chopped strawberries with the caster sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Taste, and sweeten if necessary (this will depend on the variety/batch of strawberries you bought).



11. To serve, use the greaseproof paper lining to pick up the cheesecake out of the tin. Cut into wedges and serve with the strawberry sauce.

12. Enjoy.




Try out my other cheesecakes :)
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Thursday, 18 June 2015

Apple, Almond and Cinnamon Mini-Cakes



These mini cakes are perfect served warm for delicious dessert, or cold for a picnic. I adapted the recipe from Mary Berry, and the result are 6 individual cakes, simply and beautifully flavoured with almond, cinnamon and apples.  

I used Bramley apples for the recipe, as they give tartness to the otherwise sweet cake. However, feel free to experiment with other sweeter varieties of apple.

To bake the cakes, I used a Mini Victoria Sandwich cake tin (in England, they are available from Lakeland: http://www.lakeland.co.uk/15170/My-Kitchen-12-Cup-Mini-Sandwich-Tin). Alternatively you could use a muffin tin, or bake the mixture in one square sandwich cake tin (no more than 12cm in width), and cut them into squares/rectangles post-baking.

Makes 6 cakes/muffins

Ingredients:
  • 75g melted butter
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten lightly
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 small bramley apple (around 60g) peeled, cored, and roughly chopped
  • Crème fraiche, to serve (optional)


Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas mark 4. Grease the base and sides of the mini cake/muffin/sandwich tin.

2. Melt the butter. I found this quickest in the microwave, but it can also be melted in a pan instead.

3. Stir in the sugar, flour, almond extract, cinnamon and egg.



4. Once fully combined, stir in the chopped bramley apple.

5. Fill the moulds until they are ¾ full. Lift the tray up and tap onto the counter (this dispels any air bubbles).



6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch.


7. If serving warm, leave to cool for about 10 minutes, before turning out and serving with Crème Fraiche. Otherwise, leave to cool completely before turning out. These will keep for about a week in a airtight tin.

8. Enjoy!!

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

White Chocolate and Ginger Honeycomb Crunchies


As my blog title implies, I love Honeycomb Crunchies, and wanted to try a variation on the original (http://honeycombcrunchies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/brons-orange-chocolate-honeycomb.html). I used the ginger biscuits I made in my last blog post (see here: http://honeycombcrunchies.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/budget-friendly-delicious-ginger.html), to give a ginger kick, and white chocolate for added sweetness. They turned out really well – very different from the originals but perfect combination of sweet and gingery.

Ingredients:

  • 100g ginger biscuits
  • 300g white chocolate
  • 50g butter
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Method:

1. Make the honeycomb. Place the caster sugar and 2 tbsp golden syrup in a saucepan and heat, stirring at first to dissolve the sugar in the syrup.

2. Grease a baking tray, and have it and the bicarbonate of soda and whisk ready by the pan.

3. Leave bubbling for 5-8 minutes, until the mixture is a medium caramel colour. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk quickly. The honeycomb will bubble up so be careful not to touch it.

4. Pour onto the prepared tray and leave to set (this takes about half an hour).

5. Snap the ginger biscuits and honeycomb into similarly sized shards.

6. Melt the white chocolate with the butter and golden syrup.  Once melted, leave to cool for a few minutes. Pour in the broken up ginger biscuits and honeycomb and stir to evenly distribute.

7. Prepare a tub by lining with clingfilm. Pour in the mixture and place in the fridge for 2-4 hours to set (if you are in a rush, it will set in the freezer in about half an hour).

8. Cut into squares and enjoy.



Like these? Then try out the classic Orange Chocolate Honeycomb Crunchies :D

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Thursday, 4 June 2015

Budget-Friendly Delicious Ginger Biscuits



These are a storecupboard classic – they take less than half an hour to prepare and bake, and will be the best ginger biscuits you’ve ever had! I got the recipe from the master baker Paul Hollywood, and it is faultless. If you like your biscuits soft and slightly chewy, bake them for a few minutes shorter than if you like biscuits with a good snap.

Makes 12-15 biscuits

Ingredients:
  • 55g margarine
  • 55g caster sugar
  • 55g golden syrup
  • 110g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Method:
1. Preheat your oven to 180c/160 fan/ gas mark 4. Grease a baking tray.

2. Melt the margarine with the caster sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan, stirring occasionally.

3. Once melted, leave to cool for a few minutes, then sift in the self-raising flour and the ground ginger. Beat until smooth.



4. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, take pieces of the dough and shape into balls. I made them about the size of a ping-pong ball.

5. Place onto the prepared baking tray and press down on them lightly with a fork.



6. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are just starting to turn brown. The browner they get, the snappier they will be.



7. Leave to cool for a few minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool fully.


8. Enjoy!

Love ginger? Then you should try my White Chocolate and Ginger Honeycomb Crunchies :D
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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Marshmallows

 

One of my close friends is obsessed with marshmallows. And I mean obsessed (I think if she could, she'd eat them every day). So I really wanted to figure out a way to make her them from scratch and tried numerous recipes. After a few failures, I found a recipe on a great blog (http://nothingbutonions.com/2013/09/marshmallows/) that I have tested and adapted slightly. They taste far better than the basic store-bought versions, and I’m really looking forward to giving these to my friend and seeing her reaction to them.
In the future I will also definitely try making flavored marshmallows, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

Makes 16-20 marshmallows

Ingredients:

  • 250g granulated sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • 12g sachet of powdered gelatin
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Few drops of red food colouring (optional)
  • Equal quantities of cornflour and icing sugar (about 25g of each), mixed, to dust


Method:

      1. Place the sugar and 250ml water in a heavy-based saucepan (heavy-based is better as it helps to control the temperature of the pan, so lowers the chance of burning your marshmallows). Stir - whilst heating gently - until all of the sugar has dissolved.

      2.  Bring the mixture to the boil and place a sugar thermometer in the pan. Keep the mixture boiling until it reaches 122C/250F – this is the hard ball stage. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer (I would highly recommend one for this recipe), you can test the temperature by dipping a spoon into the mixture and placing a drop into some icy water. When you press the drop with your fingers, it will feel like a hard ball.



     3. Whilst the sugar is boiling, dissolve the gelatin in 60ml of hot water.

     4. Once the sugar syrup has reached 122c/250f, turn off the heat and stir in the gelatin. The mixture will bubble up a lot, so be careful.



     5. In a clean, grease-free bowl, whisk the egg white (with an electric whisk) for 3-5 minutes, until soft peaks form. Pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites in a slow, steady stream, constantly whisking. Add the vanilla extract and food colouring. 

     6. Whisk for a further 5 – 10 minutes. You will notice the mixture becomes very thick, so that when the whisk is removed from the mixture, a trail is left behind that is visible for a  few seconds.

Notice the ripple around the whisk - this indicates the
marshmallow is thickening well

     7. Grease a container (e.g a 20x 25cm tub) and scatter over a handful of the icing sugar/cornflour mixture. Tip out any excess flour/sugar. Pour in the marshmallow mixture and leave to set (I refrigerated the marshmallows for 3 hours, which worked well).



     8. Once set (the marshmallow will feel very springy to the touch), dust a surface with icing sugar and cornflour. Carefully pry out the marshmallow. I found this was easiest using a knife to peel the marshmallow away from the sides of the tub.




     9.   Cut into cubes and enjoy! These will keep in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

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